Beach or Mountains?

Would you rather go to the beach or the mountains on vacation?

Admittedly, there are cultural, justice, political, biblical, and health issues that should occupy this Interruption. I couldn’t focus this morning while praying because I kept thinking of summer – and a beach vacation with my family.

I am a beach person. I have compassion for those who prefer mountains and I pray for them. I don’t understand why anyone would choose hiking, mosquitoes, and bears over sunburn, sand, and sharks.

Who is right?

As Christians, we want to follow Jesus in all things and call those to repentance who sin.  Let’s turn to the Bible for guidance. If Jesus and Peter went on vacation, where would they go? To a beach or to a mountain resort?

Mountains are mentioned about 550 times in the entire Bible.

Noah’s Ark came to rest after the flood on Mount Ararat. Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, and when he found the people sinning, he had to re-climb the mountain for another copy of the Ten Commandments.

Scholars still debate if Moses had received the “Big Ten” on a seashore, would the Israelites have sinned?

In the New Testament mountains are big or huge (sorry for the pun). We read about the Sermon on the Mount, Mount of Olives, Mount of Transfiguration, and all history concludes on Mount Zion, or the New Jerusalem, in heaven.

Are the mountain vacation people more Biblical than beach vacationers?

Admittedly, beaches are rarely mentioned in the Bible. The Israelites were mountain people, and with those nasty Philistines inhabiting the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea closest to the Jerusalem of the Old Testament, beach resorts weren’t constructed in Israel until recently.

The Gospels do have lots of shore time on the Sea of Galilee. Most of Jesus’s ministry on earth was conducted from Capernaum which sits on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus calms the storm, fills nets with fish, calls Peter and John to “apostlehood” while they were fishing, and walks on water.

Do the beach people win?

To break the Biblical tie between mountain and sea, let’s consider where Jesus would go to find peace with his friends.

When they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.  John 21:9-10 NASB95

After eating breakfast, Jesus forgave Peter by asking him three times, “Simon, do you love me?” Probably the most inspirational story of friendship and forgiveness in the entire Bible…

…occurred on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  

After a thorough analysis, what do we learn from the Jesus/Peter encounter? Beaches are better but mountain vacationers can be forgiven!

Most of us missed a vacation, a trip, a graduation ceremony, or some other important event in 2020. Take a minute and let me know if you agree with my mountain/beach study in this Interruption.

Be creative!

Tell me where you are going this summer. My wife and I are going to Myrtle Beach, where we will try to protect the grandkids from sharks.

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